Daniel 3-4

Daniel 3-4

Chapter 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego

Nebuchadnezzar creates a large golden statue and commands all men in the region to worship it, when they hear “…the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music…” (Daniel 3:5). Those who choose not to worship the golden statue that was made by Nebuchadnezzar “…be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:6). A few Chaldeans came down to Nebuchanezzar and accused some of the Jews of not worshiping the statue, mainly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded that the men come before him and he asked them; “…Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?” (Daniel 3:14)

The three men responded to King Nebuchadnezzar; “… O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-17)

                This enraged Nebuchadnezzar and commanded that all three men be placed in the midst of the fiery furnace. Now because Nebuchadnezzar rushed them to the furnace, they did not have time to cool the furnace enough to get the men into the furnace safely without hurting the guards. The furnace however was so hot that upon shoving the men into the furnace one of the guards died from the heat! All three men (Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego) fell into the midst of the furnace, but to everyone’s astonishment, they were still alive and walking around the furnace!

th

                “…Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no urt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25)

                Nebuchadnezzar commands that the men be taken out of the furnace and again to everyones surprise there was not burnt clothing, burnt smell, or even singed hair! They were perfectly fine… Nebuchadnezzar promoted the men in the land of Babylon and commands anyone who says anything against the God of these men, to be put to death.

Chapter 4: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar’s decree: “How great are his [God’s] signs! and how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:3) Nebuchadnezzar recounts a dream of a mighty tree, which a watcher from heaven orders to be chopped down, and its stump bound with a band of iron and bronze. It is to be made wet with dew, and be with grazing beasts. Daniel interprets this dream: Nebuchadnezzar will be humbled, and eat grass like oxen. Daniel’s interpretation if fulfilled that very hour: Nebuchadnezzar is driven from men and eats grass. His hair grows like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws. He falls into madness, but learns that the Most High rules and sets the rules of men over earthly kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar is finally restored to power, and praises God.

Daniel 1-2

Daniel 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.

In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)

                Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!

In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)

latter-day-saints-temple-building-projects-8

Chapter 1: Daniel

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

yhst-134523174946412_2271_24511889

                Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)

                Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!

The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.

Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).

Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:

“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)

Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).

                “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.

 

2 Kings 23-25

2 Kings 23-25

Chapter 23: The Book of the Covenant

The King sent for all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem to come unto him. The King then went up into the house of the Lord and read out to them all the words of the Book of the Covenant. Then the King stood by a pillar and made a covenant there with all the elders to God that they would follow the words of the book and do well in the eyes of the Lord.

So the King commanded everyone to take anything that belonged to the worship of Baal and burn it in a field.  In the eighteenth year of King Josiah a Passover was held to the Lord in Jerusalem.

The King of Egypt decides to go up against the Assyrian Empire, but King Josiah went up against him and his servants carried him dead from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. The people then took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and made him king in his father’s stead. Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he began to reign and he reigned for 3 months in Jerusalem and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

The King of Egypt; Pharaoh-nechoh put king Jehoahaz in band at Riblah in the land of Hamath that he might not reign in Jerusalem. Instead the king of Egypt put Eliakim the other son of Josiah king and renamed him; “Jehoiakim” and took Jeoahaz to Egypt where he would later die. Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to reign and he reigned for 11 years in Jerusalem and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Chapter 24: Jerusalem Taken by Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon comes up and makes Jehoaikim his servant for three years. But Jehoaikim rebels against him. Jehoaikim gets some help from the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites and the children of Ammon. Jehoaikim dies and his son Jehoiachin reigns in his stead. Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he began to reign and he reigned in Jerusalem for 3 months and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

The King of Babylon comes and besieges the land and takes Jehoiachin and his household and also carried away all the treasures of the house of the Lord, including vessels of Gold that King Solomon had made in the Temple. The king of Babylon also took over 10,000 captive and brought them back to Babylon, he then appointed Mattaniah his father’s brother, whose name was changed to Zedekiah to reign in his stead.

Zedekiah was 21 years old when he began to reign and he reigned in Jerusalem for 11 years and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Chapter 25: The Fall of Jerusalem

In the ninth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon he came to Jerusalem and pitched against it and build forts all around the city. Because of the surrounding armies, the city of Jerusalem started to go hungry for the lack of bread. Here is where things really get interesting, and where the Book of Mormon can help us understand more of the story from the Bible….

“And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain. And the army of the Chaldees took him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass and carried him to Babylon.” (2 Kings 2:25)

                According to this story all of the sons of Zedekiah were killed, however in the Book of Mormon it talks about how one of his sons… named Mulek fled and came to the Americas! See Helaman 6:10 and 8:21.

“…the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land of the north…” (Helaman 6:10)

“And will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem?” (Helaman 8:21)

This is something that is very interesting and really helps us to understand the purpose of both the Bible (New and Old Testaments) and the Book of Mormon. The Bible is the word of God, but with the Book of Mormon we realize that God has more to say than just what is written in the Bible and had spoken with people of the Old world (middle east) and the New world (the Americas). Nebuchadnezzar with the help of his captain Nebuzar-adan burnt down the house of the Lord and the houses of Jerusalem. The remnants of the people flee to Egypt. Jechoiachin is released from prison and is favored by the new king; Evil-merodach the king of Babylon.